According to CNBC, what had been mostly a cold case was reawakened when Zhong called emergency services in Athens, GA to report that hundreds of thousands of dollars of cryptocurrency had been stolen from his home. A few twists and turns later, including some legwork from a private investigator who mostly handled process serving, cheating spouses and custody probes, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ultimately got their man and realized one of the largest-ever cryptocurrency seizures from an individual.
The report shared that Zhong was known for hiring private jets, lavish parties and gifting his friends thousands of dollars before his arrest.
Zhong ultimately was charged with wire fraud and after pleading guilty, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and forfeited his bitcoin. Zhong, now 33 years old, began his sentence at the federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama, on July 14, 2023.
“The government has certainly not been hurt by Jimmy’s conduct whatsoever,” Zhong’s attorney Michael Bachner told CNBC. He noted that if the government had gotten its hands on those 50,000 bitcoins at the time of Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht’s arrest, it would have sold them for about $320 per coin, or roughly $14 million. “As a result of Jimmy having them, the government has gotten a $3 billion profit,” Bachner said.
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